Recommendations for an enamel stove

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New Member
Nov 7, 2023
We are building a cabin - we have an ancient wood stove which we are planning replace as it's not labelled and the clearances would be a bear in our state (Maine) for fire code. My husband bought a Vigilant II off a friend before fully researching (grr but I probably said it was fine at the time). It is way too large for our space. We have maybe 500 sq ft on the 2nd floor where we are installing it (basement is heated with heat pumps and there was no good way to install a stove down there due to grade/rooms/etc).

Are there any nice budget friendly enamel wood stoves? I love the vision of a red or green stove as a centerpiece. We are looking into a metal heatshield with some designs just for the look. I am also pursuing a Drolet Nano Deco based on a recommendation here but also looking on marketplace for a labelled good condition used stove. I love to look of the VC Aspen but it's more expensive new and I haven't seen enamel used.
There are no enameled stoves at the DecoNano's price point. The Pacific Energy Vista is available in a porcelain coated jacket but that will cost more.
Enamel finish makes all the difference keeping it clean. Nothing sticks to it or dulls the high gloss finish. Just pledge it occasionally. We have the dark green. It's the focal point in the room.

To get the clearances down, see if they make rear heat shield for the stove. Mine you can't even see its there. Also I have a half heat shield on the rear of the single wall pipe from the stove to the ceiling box.
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We bought the Vista because of the tight clearances to combustibles. Ours is a corner install. Would have liked the enamel but the basic metallic black looks great. Used double wall Excel stove pipe 6” clearance to combustibles but we are further away.
Enamel finish makes all the difference keeping it clean. Nothing sticks to it or dulls the high gloss finish. Just pledge it occasionally. We have the dark green. It's the focal point in the room.
I've had a few of each. Some of the enamel colors certainly are pretty, but in a dry environment, I really see no advantage to painted vs. enamel with regard to performance of the stove or finish. In a damp environment or one without constant heat, where a painted stove is likely to rust, the enamel stove then has a bigger advantage. It sounds like the OP may have be facing that scenario.
I think most people buy the enamel colored stoves for purely esthetics.
We've had a few and a notable difference is that an enameled stove is much easier to clean on the outside. Wipe it down with a damp rag and it looks like new. The blue-black enamel on our last Jotul was my favorite finish.
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The one caveat is there really is no way to patch fired enamel if its chipped and the chips are obvious. There are ways to fix fired enameled appliances and plumbing fixtures using polymers but unless the stove is strictly for display, those fixes fail quickly once the stove is fired. A painted stove on the other hand is pretty easy to rehab, just a quick wire brush or blast with a rattle can of high temp paint does wonders unless the casting is pitted.

I have heard of but not seen cases where unscrupulous folks did use polymer repair methods on chipped enameled stoves and sold them to unknowing buyers without disclosing the fixes. I ran into an individual that would buy Jotul 404 wood cook stoves and sell them to decorators in the Boston area for strictly visual decor, they were never intended to actually be fired so in that case I expect using a polymer repair was acceptable.